My Yukata experiences in Tokyo and Shiga
For those who wish to immerse yourself in Japanese culture, let's try Kimono or Yukata wearing experience! Being in Japanese traditional wear will make your trip unique and unforgettable. Here is my special moment in Yukata and some tips for Yukata wearing!
But first, what is a Yukata?
Yukata literally means "bathing cloth" and was at first worn by the upper class in public baths or hot springs. Although still presently worn in most onsen, Yukata has long evolved into a more casual type Kimono people, both Japanese and foreigners alike, wear during the summer when going to shrines or attending fireworks festivals.
Unlike a Kimono, Yukata is made of breathable fabric, like cotton or synthetic material, which is perfect for summer weather in Japan. Because I tell you, Japan in the summer can be really humid. As it has fewer layers and lightweight compared to a Kimono, it is also easier to move around in it.
The last time I visited Japan, I was able to experience wearing a personal Yukata (bought by my mom) and renting one with a friend in Tokyo. Here's how both experiences went:
As luck would have it, my visit was just in time for the Lake Biwa Great Fireworks Festival, a famous fireworks festival in Shiga. And when my mom asked if I wanted to wear a Yukata, of course, I said yes.
Dressing up in Yukata was fairly easy, thanks to Google. But if you're doing it yourself, I suggest that you do your research first to avoid any cultural taboos.
In the case of Yukata, always remember – wrap left over right! The opposite way is how the Japanese dress their deceased.
A small tip too – wear a sports bra and cycling shorts underneath. It also makes for easier wardrobe change. Like for me, right after the fireworks festival, I looked for the nearest portable toilet, stripped down to my sports bra and cycling shorts, put on a long shirt, and went home more comfortable and free.
Renting a Yukata
My friend and I made online reservations at Kimono Rental Komomo (as of writing, the website for the Kimono rental is no longer available) in Asakusa, which was located just outside the A4 Exit of Asakusa station and a short walking distance from Senso-ji or Asakusa Kannon Temple.
The rental cost 3,240 JPY (excluding tax) and already included the Yukata, undergarment, obi (sash), geta sandals, bag, hairstyling and hair ornament. One difference between a Kimono and a Yukata is that you don't need to wear tabi socks when wearing a Yukata.
Depending on the rental store, the selection for the Yukata can be overwhelming and slightly pressuring when you have these friendly Japanese ladies waiting for you to choose (or maybe that's just me), so it's not a bad idea to know what color you like beforehand.
Because it was a rental, we had to wear an undergarment of some sort (no bra!) for hygienic purposes and to avoid sweat stains on the Yukata. Only a phone and a wallet can fit in the kinchaku (drawstring bag) or kago (basket) but worry not because you may leave your belongings in baskets at the store.
Our schedule for the rental was at 11 AM and took us about 20-30 minutes to get dressed up and had our hair styled. Return of our rental was at 6:30 PM so that gave us at least 5-6 hours of sightseeing in Yukata. We even went to Tokyo Skytree!
Truly, wearing a Yukata not only lets one experience a taste of Japanese culture first hand but also makes any summer trip in Japan more special.
Hi, I'm a half-Japanese, kawaii-loving girl from the Philippines. In my free time, I juggle writing poetry, making art, and playing with my fur baby. I dream of traveling the world and moving to Japan permanently. But for now, I take pleasure in virtually sharing Japan's beauty and uniqueness.
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